• Michael Mclaren

How To Be Less Influenced By The Expectations From Others Around You & Your Diet.

I get it.

I’ve had the comments, the looks, the (I imagine) judgemental thoughts when you decide to suddenly take a healthier approach to life, in order to reach a goal.

If you’re unsure of what I mean, then think back to anytime you’ve went to a bar or club with friends and ordered a water..

Or if you decide, for some reason to opt for some fruit over a piece of cake.

Yeah, you’re guaranteed a few funny looks, maybe even some comments.

My first real dedicated effort at “eating healthy” was probably back in 2013.

Working in the trade at the time, where turning down a bacon roll in favour of some pre cooked chicken and spinach, wasn’t exactly common.

Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of bacon, sausage and black pudding rolls!

Sorry.. I forget where I am sometimes.

I should say, bread roll..

And if you’ve never had one with black pudding, you’re missing out man!

Anyways, back to the post.

It felt at times as if my decision to eat healthily, was seen from others as some deliberate attempt at stating I somehow felt superior.

When, it wasn’t, and still today, definitely isn’t. It never is.

The same goes for ordering some water at a bar, or refusing to go to the bar all together.

Your decision to make a choice which you feel will benefit you most at that time, is 100% that.

It’s simply the thing you feel will benefit you the most at that time.

However, it can be hard when we listen to comments and/or opinions from others around it.

There’s a lot to be said about being aware of how our environment affects us, and that includes people of course, but I’ll leave that for another day.

But it begs the question..

Does it have to be made harder by someone else’s opinion?

If you decide to pass on a piece of cake in favour of an apple, does that need to be uncomfortable or difficult, by what someone else might be thinking about it?

Before going any further, it’s important I feel to state that sometimes the best decision for you at any given moment, is to absolutely have some cake, or some beers, or 12 shots of tequila and a full pizza.

That’s not for me to say either way right now.

However, sometimes we might know what we really want to do, but end up ignoring that in favour of what we think others will approve of the most.

This can lead us on a path all too familiar, where we end up simply feeling frustrated or “stuck”. Maybe even a bit of guilt and regret in there for good measure too.

I’m not encouraging we completely disregard someone else’s viewpoint, all the time. I’d say it’s more about being able to prioritise what you want, every now and again when you feel you need it the most.

How Do We Stop Those Opinions From Influencing Us So Strongly?

I remember turning down some birthday cake, during one of my spells tackling “extreme dieting”.

“One bit won’t hurt”

I never disputed that. But at that moment, regardless of what I think about extreme diets and their downfalls, I knew that politely declining was the best thing for me.

In the end whether or not I had the cake is kinda irrelevant.

The main issue for me was acknowledging what I wanted at that moment - but not only that, acknowledging WHY.

Just taking a moment to remember what my overall reasoning was for choosing to decline the offer.

Could you call it willpower? Maybe.

But what if willpower was just a measure of your ability to recall on your purpose?

As a side note, I did a post at the beginning of the year on this, you can check it out here -

Why Do You Want To Lose Weight?

I had a clear purpose in mind as to why I wanted to diet in the first place. Albeit in hindsight, it may not have come to fruition..

However, when you really know why you’re doing something at any given moment, the resistance to prioritise yourself and your choices, falls away.

And as much as I never set out to deliberately offend or annoy anyone, and as much as I value what everyone has to say, I chose to acknowledge it, but value my own wants, slightly higher.

Something I bet a lot of us are perhaps a bit wary to do?

It might make us selfish? Or inconsiderate?

I don’t see it that way.

You can place yourself at the top of the list, whilst ensuring those around you are a very close second.

Putting our own wants on hold all the time, in favour of what we think other people want, doesn’t tend to serve anyone long term.

So - when faced with the dilemma of choosing between what you feel is best for you at that moment, or what you feel would please others in that moment, I find it helpful to give yourself some breathing room, and ask yourself;

What do I really want from this moment?

What do I want to get from this choice?

Why is there a choice to be made in the first place?

When you know the answers to those questions, then you’re able to pull away with little resistance to what you believe are expectations on you to make a certain choice.

With the ability to do that, comes a big leap towards no longer feeling trapped or stuck where you are.

This is a huge step to feeling completely empowered to take control of your own body.

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